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Purdue announces salary freezes, cost-saving measures

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University officials on Wednesday (April 1) announced there will be no salary increases as part of the next fiscal year budget that begins in July. Earlier this year, the university administration ordered a 2 percent cut from the general budget fund and other cost-saving measures for the coming year.

“Indiana families are facing enormous pressures, and so is higher education,” said Purdue President France A. Córdova. “Hard times mean we must work harder and smarter to preserve the high-quality education we offer and its value for students and their families. At the same time, we need to ensure the vitality of our work force of dedicated faculty and staff. A policy that holds the line on salary increases will help us do that. Everyone is being asked to share the burden.”

Consistent with the tenure process, however, faculty members changing academic rank would be provided scheduled salary increases. Provost Randy Woodson emphasized, “We will continue to monitor equity in the marketplace and make every effort to retain world-class faculty and staff.

“The university is committed to maintaining the value of a Purdue degree. We are carefully reviewing positions and discretionary spending such as travel. Earlier, we eliminated merit bonuses. We also continue to seek efficiencies that will produce savings.”

Following are some of the cost-saving measures already implemented or under way at Purdue:

  • Debt management – The use of variable rate debt has saved considerable money by reducing outstanding debt and/or reducing debt service costs. During the 2007-08 fiscal year Purdue reverted $3.7 million of debt service appropriations to the state. In 2009 the savings is estimated to be $4.2 million.
  • Suspension of Special Merit Pay – The suspension of special merit pay for the current fiscal year resulted in system-wide savings of approximately $3 million.
  • Food service consolidation – The university has consolidated food service facilities within the residence halls from 11 to 5 locations. Salary savings of approximately $2.8 million primarily financed the costs of these remodeled and new dining facilities.
  • Utilization of instructional space – Purdue has a long history of efficient use of classroom spaces and other instructional resources. Efficient use of instructional space is a positive outcome of scheduling practices that place a high priority on making courses available to students who need them and avoiding time conflicts that restrict student access to courses. On average, our classrooms are used 37 hours a week in the fall semester of 2008 with an average occupancy rate of 70 percent per room. Classrooms are also used heavily during the evening hours for exams and student group meetings and study sessions.
  • IT purchases – Large purchases of computer equipment across campus and negotiation of software contracts resulting in cost savings of approximately $1.8 million.
  • Energy-savings projects – A major energy conservation initiative will save significant money in Purdue’s annual utility budget. These projects are estimated to generate $2.2 million in annual savings in the next five years. The initiative includes:
    • Installing utility meters in buildings. This will help determine which buildings are the best targets for energy reduction technologies.
    • Qualified energy savings projects at two large campus buildings are under way.
    • Three older buildings are being retrofitted with energy savings upgrades and “tune-ups.”
    • LEED green building guidelines for new construction and building rehabilitation are being evaluated. Information and experience gained will result in a comprehensive plan for future energy conservation.
  • Instructional computing labs – A current campus-wide review of computer laboratories will determine the right configuration of lab spaces and the right number of labs to best meet student need. Peer comparisons, preliminary campus data, and academic and technology perspectives indicate that some current computer labs should be modified to better accommodate wireless laptop use rather than desktop stations. It also is expected that the study will support less student need for the number of current labs. These findings will allow for cost savings in equipment and support, as well as the release of space to priority academic needs.
  • Libraries print and electronic subscriptions – Annual inflation on library materials (databases, serials and periodicals) continues at 6 percent to 7 percent. The materials budget is $10 million. In past years, new subscriptions have required the elimination of existing subscriptions. However, Purdue Libraries has now initiated a comprehensive review of all materials and is working with the colleges, schools and departments to determine which materials can be discontinued (and not replaced) to allow the budget to absorb the inflationary increase. Estimated savings are $700,000 to $1.2 million.

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